A personal tale of wrongful conviction
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 18:10
The next rendition of the Wrongful Convictions series was held in the Gage Gallery on Wednesday, Oct. 3, with a full house expecting a moving call to action. This call to action was offered by Joey Mogul, a People’s Law Office attorney, who represented Darrell Cannon in a court of law, which resulted in his release from prison after 24 years.
This lecture was sponsored by the Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project and the Department of Psychology. Dr. Shari Berkowitz put the lecture together. Co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the lecture was open for members of the public to attend.
Born and raised in Chicago, Darrell Cannon was accused of murder in 1983, and he produced a false confession for the killing of three white Chicago police officers after undergoing many torturous interrogations.
Methods used included electrical shock to the genitals, isolation for days without human contact, a shotgun barrel placed in his mouth, and nearly being hanged to death by his handcuffs.
In order to avoid insanity, Cannon kept his mind active by reading, writing, and continuing to be alert. Oddly enough, he became a paralegal during his 24 years in prison by attending law classes held within the jail. The objective was to learn about the law and ways to eventually get around the legal system.
Cannon said, to this day, that he struggles with culture shock and adjusting to everyday life.
Cannon’s main point was to never give up the fight for justice.
The crowd went silent for a moment when Cannon spoke of missing the funerals of his mother and sister while he was wrongly imprisoned for 24 years. He had to stop speaking and take a moment to refocus.
“Knowledge is power, and there is nothing that we can’t do,” said Cannon, in response to a question about how current inmates can advocate on their own behalf.
Joey Mogul interjected with powerful statements expressing the never-ending need to fight for just actions. Mogul referenced the legal system as “criminal” and compared the treatment of African-Americans and LGBT people to those in prison.
“Took the cause of justice to the streets activists and victims of families; demanded that Berge and other Chicago Police Department officers be fired for their actions of torture,” said Mogul, when mentioning how it took public outcry to eventually get former Chicago Police Department commander Jon Burge fired.
Chelsea Morrison, a political science undergraduate student, attended the event because she said these important individuals need to be heard. She said the torture stood out to her because of its severity.
“By me coming to this event, it is the first step forward and always pushing forward no matter what,” said Morrison.
Mogul said that others can learn from what happened to Cannon and advocate for social justice. “Let the evidence speak for itself,” said Mogul.
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